Ocean Liners

Ocean Liners: Getting there is half the fun!

Images of four ocean liners from the RIBA Collections

Prior to the arrival of the “jet age” and, in particular, the commercial success of the Boeing 707 “airliner” ocean liners were the dominant mode of transport between continents not only carrying passengers but freight and mail. Today only Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (QM2) continues that line’s advertising slogan of “Getting there is half the fun!” Indeed the QM2 is now the sole ship in service as an ocean liner albeit not exclusively as she is also used as a cruise ship.

Ocean liners and cruise ships are actually different types of vessels. Ocean liners have regular ocean going routes and being built for the open oceans tend to be stronger, faster and sleeker. In comparison cruise ships tend to be much boxier being largely designed to cruise around the calmer sailing conditions of sheltered waters.

Only a handful of ocean liners now survive, including the SS Great Britain (1843), RMS Queen Mary (1934), SS United States (1951), SS Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2 (1967) as well as a couple, MV Astoria (built as the Stockholm, 1946) and MS Marco Polo (1964), now plying their trade as cruise liners.

Illustrated here are a number of photographs and drawings of ocean liners from the RIBA Collections including several with interior designs by renowned architects including those for the RMS Queen Elizabeth by the designer of the RIBA headquarters, George Grey Wornum.

Feature by Jonathan Makepeace.

SS Normandie
Ocean Liners

SS Normandie

Click on the image above to go to the Normandie gallery.

RMS Orion & RMS Orcades II
Ocean Liners

Orion & Orcades II

Click on the image above to got to go to the Orion & Orcades gallery.

SS Oriana
Ocean Liners

SS Oriana

Click on the image above to go to the Oriana gallery.

107513 items
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RIBA125771Preliminary design for Myholme, convalescent home for children, 170 Merryhill Road, Bushey, for Miss Edith Somers: plans and elevations

RIBA125772Sketch of a Burmese tigress

RIBA125773Sketch of a heron in Richmond

RIBA125774Two sketches of John Dory; one by Donald Gunn and one by Voysey

RIBA125775Two half-elevations for doorways, possibly alternative designs; (right) the porte-cochere of the Hotel d'Almeyras, 30 rue des Francs-Bourgeois, Paris

RIBA125776Half-elevation of the upper part of a door or window with pedimented tablet and a cartouche over

RIBA125777Two half-elevations of entrances: (left) square opening; (right) arched opening bearing arms of France with a ducal coronet in a cartouche

RIBA125778Four half-elevations of doorways

RIBA125779Two half-elevations of doorways

RIBA125780Elaborate small design for a variation on the fleur-de-lis motif

RIBA125781Two putti, winged, with bows and quivers, fighting over a palm frond

RIBA125782Three half-designs for cartouches

RIBA125783Female allegorical figure, robed, standing on a pedestal, holding in her raised left hand a wreath

RIBA125784Half the front elevation of a gateway with the side elevation at the right

RIBA125785Half the front elevation of a gateway with the side elevation at the right

RIBA125786Half-front elevation of a doorway of the Villa Sforza with its side elevation to the right

RIBA125787Top part only of a door on the Campidoglio

RIBA125788Half-elevation of a gateway in a screen

RIBA125789Two half-elevations of an entrance

RIBA125790Four designs apparently for wall panels with, at the bottom, a winged figure with a helmet at his feet

RIBA125791(Left) Half the front elevation of an arched entrance, the entablature supported by a winged herm; side elevation of the same at right; (right) design for an overmantel

RIBA125792Elevation of an entrance doorway or gateway with an entablature supported by winged herms

RIBA125793Elevation of an arched entrance with alternate designs right and left, the cypher P and reversed B in a laurel wreath over the curved pediment common to both designs; to the right, the side elevation of the entablature supported by winged figure with console base

RIBA125794Design for the Economist Building, 25 St James's Street, London: revised plans for the bank building

RIBA125795Competition design for the development of Beachlands, Hayling Island, Hampshire: aerial perspective

RIBA125796Competition designs for baths and wash-houses, New Islington, Manchester: plan and perspective

RIBA125797Competition designs for baths and wash-houses, New Islington, Manchester: ground floor plan

RIBA125798Competition designs for baths and wash-houses, New Islington, Manchester: south-west, north-east and south-east elevations

RIBA125799Competition designs for baths and wash-houses, New Islington, Manchester: sections

RIBA125800Competition design for public baths, library and fire station, Gorton Road, Reddish, Stockport: perspective from the north-west

RIBA125801Designs for Montpellier Rotunda (or Pump Room) and for alterations and additions, Montpellier Spa, Cheltenham, for Henry Thompson Esq.: unexecuted design for newly exposed side elevation to the 'New Gloucester Road' (Lansdown Place)

RIBA125802Designs, as executed, for Putney Swimming Baths, Upper Richmond Road and Dryburgh Road, Wandsworth, London, for Wandsworth Borough Council: site plan